Kathleen Ford

My name is Kathleen Ford, I am one member of a family business and I would like to tell our story. My family and I fished cod from a 32 ft. trap boat. My husband has fished cod all his life, but he still didn't qualify for NCARP or TAGS.

The two damaging years were 1990 and 1991... It was during those two years in the winter months when he would normally have collected U.I. that he went to work at something outside the fishery. Maybe it could be said that he was supplementing his fishing income by working, instead of by collecting Unemployment Insurance.

He drew fishing U.I. from November to January 1992. In January of that year he had a chance to do some teaching for the FFAW; it had no bearing on his fishing season because he would have been on U. I. at that time. When he applied for NCARP he found he didn't have enough insurable weeks. He appealed on the basis of historical grounds, and had his M.P. working on it, but it was all no good. DFO would not reverse their decision.

When I realize how much my husband has worked over the years to build everything up from scratch (once we were the top long-liner for the season), it makes me mad. We feel he was penalized for finding other employment.

I've often said to my husband, "How foolish were you to have taken that job."

I don't envy other people who are getting the package, personally I didn't have any trouble qualifying. But, I think there are people who have qualified but don't deserve to. Things like that happen, it's a fact of life. But when you get the short end of the stick, it makes things very much harder to swallow.

I didn't go back to school because I felt forced, although some people were told if you didn't take any of the courses or the training, your NCARP payments would be cut.

People were frightened. A lot of us were frightened. To have that cheque coming in every two weeks was our only chance of survival. So we did what we could. If it meant going back to school, then we did it. Was that force?

I gave it a lot of thought before I went back to school. Being an active person, I find it difficult to sit around and do nothing. You'll never hear say I'm bored or I have nothing to do. I want to be active. For my mind as well as my body I have to keep occupied.

At the time I was under a great deal of personal pressure caring for my elderly father-in-law. So going back to school meant giving me a break, getting me out of the house and giving me a sense of being stabilized. I was also a great challenge for me.

I asked myself, "Can I do it? A person of my age, a grandmother of three, can I do it?" Then I asked, "Why would I want to do it?" If you set your mind and your heart to something, you can do anything. Just have the willpower, mind and drive, then you can do it.

When I first started, there were people who were further advanced than me. I could pick up any book and read it, so I didn't feel learning was going to a problem for me. But when I heard the advanced people saying 'such an such words', I thought to myself, "Do I have to learn that?"

I had a vague idea what they were talking about because I had gone as far as grade nine in school, but most of it was forgotten. I started flipping through the pages of my book, thinking, "I wonder if what they're talking about is in this book."

It frightened me. I used to get frustrated at first. Math was my biggest problem. It scared me like nothing else. But once you got into it took it step by step and didn't pay any attention to the person next to you eventually you got there. I did it my way, at my pace and after a while it wasn't so frustrating. I knew I could do it.

I would come home from school, do my house work and by seven o'clock at night my books would be on the kitchen table. Nobody dared speak about bingo or darts.

I just loved it when I had my books, a pack of cigarettes and a can of Coke on the table, my leg up on the chair, and doing my lessons. I would be so proud. I tell you, I was a proud person.

One time I had to take a couple of months off to take care of my father-in-law. I would go into the school once a week, get all my assignments and work on it at home.

At first I thought it was wrong for the Government to force people to go back to school. But later I thought we should have been forced because if that extra pressure wasn't put on, I might never have been proud to show my diploma. It was definitely a good thing for me.

A lot of people are sorry now that they didn't go. I think they missed out on a gold mine. The opportunity was there, it was all free... They missed out on a lot.

The sad part for me is that I would have liked to have gone further with my education. Fogo needs a training facility. There was one course offered but everyone couldn't take that course and expect to get a job from it. I love working with the elderly and the sick and would like to be able to take a Nurse's Assistant Course. But now the momentum is gone. We have applied for a crab licence and are hoping to hear back from it soon.


  1. What did Kathleen mean by 'when you get the short end of the stick it makes things harder to swallow'?
  2. What did Kathleen say was the best way to tackle a math problem?
  3. What did she say was the sad part of things for her?

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